Originally Published: January 6, 2017 5 a.m.
The Association for Career & Technical Education has proclaimed next month to be Career and Technical Education Month.
Career and technical education (CTE) provides students with relevant and rigorous instruction focused on college and career ready skills. Students take classes in one or more career programs such as agriculture, information technology, and health science. Upon successful completion of the course of study in the career program of their choice, the high school students earn an industry certification indicating to employers that they have mastered a specific level of skill in that program.
According to Georgetown University, only about 35 percent of the jobs in 2020 will require a bachelor’s degree or higher, 30 percent of jobs will require some college or an associate’s degree, and 24 percent of jobs will require only a high school diploma. CTE provides students with college and career ready skills that allows them to choose between going to college or university or going directly into the workforce.
Students who enroll in CTE courses are just as likely as those who don’t to pursue a four-year degree. In addition, many CTE classes lead students to obtain college credit during high school that they can apply toward a program of study at a community college.
CTE is successful because it embeds core academic skills into real world application. Students taking CTE classes are more likely to graduate because of the relevancy of the instruction and the hands-on instruction that engages CTE students. In addition to the program specific technical skills, CTE courses also teach employability skills such as effective communication, team work, and problem solving.
In western Yavapai County, CTE is accomplished through a partnership between the Mountain Institute Joint Technical Education District (MIJTED), Yavapai College, and the seven public district high schools in the area. Depending on the program, students will take CTE classes at their own high school, one of the other six high schools, at the MIJTED facilities, or at YC facilities.
CTE is an important component of the instructional program at Chino Valley High School (CVHS). Over 75 percent of the students at CVHS take one or more CTE courses. We attribute our students’ participation in CTE classes as one of the reasons our 2015 graduation rate was 88 percent, well above the state’s graduation rate of 76 percent. Students can choose to take classes on the CVHS campus in drafting, culinary arts, agriculture, sports medicine, biotechnology, and computer network technology. Students can also take classes off campus in aviation, electrical line worker, medical assisting, nursing, engineering, automotive technologies, and welding.
CTE works for students by providing real world skills that can lead to either post-high school education or employment in the workplace. CTE works for business by providing skilled workers in high demand employment areas. CTE works for communities by helping students become productive citizens.
For more information about career and technical education you can go to the Association for Career & Technical Education’s website at www.acteonline.org or the MIJTED’s website at www.mijted.net.
John Scholl is superintendent of the Chino Valley Unified School District.